Is Steve Cook On Steroids or Natty? (Telltale Signs)

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Published by Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: February 15, 2024
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Steve Cook, who self-identifies as an all-natural bodybuilder, sparked controversy in the fitness community when one of his videos implied that he had used steroids at some point in his life.

As a long-time sports professional, I have worked with athletes who used anabolic steroids and natural testosterone boosters, so I know what to look for to determine if an athlete has used prohibited drugs.

This article will discuss Steve's current stats, body transformation, diet, and workout routine, to determine whether he is natty or not.

Let's begin.

Does Steve Cook Take Steroids?

Steve Cook might have taken PEDs in his high school, but probably not in recent years.


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A post shared by Steve Cook (@stevecook)

The social media fitness icon who stated in a video that he is “natural but not for life” might indicate that whatever he did before, he’s presently focusing on dieting and taking natural workout supplements to improve his overall appearance and physique.

In addition, recent video appearances of the two-time Mr. Olympia top ten finalist have not shown any signs of steroid abuse, such as flushed skin, acne scarring, or disproportion in the physique.

Why Do People Believe Steve Takes Steroids?

While Steve Cook is a big guy with a muscular physique and a prominent figure in the fitness community, there is no evidence to support the claim that he has been taking steroids.

People may believe Steve is taking steroids because he says that he is “natty but not for life” in one of his videos. However, my research has yielded some evidence that he is probably not using prohibited drugs at the present time.

Here are some of Cook's present appearances:

1. Not Extremely Vascular

In my opinion, Steve's body may show prominent superficial veins, particularly in the arms, but they do not appear to be extensively ramified. Also, his vascularity is not highly notable in the chest area.

It is evident that Steve has lean muscle mass, but according to his current stats, he also has a decent amount of fat. Research from Medical News Today suggests that lean muscles push veins outward, and having fewer fatty tissues beneath the skin makes them more visible [1].

Since Cook is not too low on fat, his upper body does not appear very vascular.

2. No Enlarged Soft Breast Tissue

shirtless man

Many bodybuilders experience enlargement of the breast tissue or gynecomastia due to the side effects of anabolic steroids.

Research conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) suggests that adipocytes convert steroid hormones into estrogen, and this hormonal increase can cause men to develop excessive breast tissue [2].

While researching Steve’s current and old photos, I didn’t find any evidence of gynecomastia.

The absence of large breast tissue in Steve’s body can indicate that he is not using steroids.

3. Not Added Weight Over The Years

Steve has a relatively more minor weight for his height compared to other bodybuilders such as Ronnie Coleman, Dwayne Johnson, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

According to a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), many weightlifters who take PEDs show a significant increase in muscles and overall weight within a month. Taking PEDs can increase athletes’ strength gains by about 5 - 20% in as early as three weeks [3].

In one of Cook's interviews, he stated that he had lost 20 pounds since his football days in high school.

4. Normal Skin Color and Clear Skin

man caressing his cheeks

Currently, Steve is 37 years old and still shows youthful skin with no sign of acne scarring.

Many well-known bodybuilders who have significantly increased and defined their physique have also shown signs of skin change.

According to research conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), steroid abuse's most visible skin side effects include flushed skin, enlarged oil glands, acne, and skin atrophy [4].

On the contrary, the face and skin of the former Optimum Nutrition fitness model look young for his age in most of his social media appearances.

Steve Cook's Body Transformation

portrait image of steve cook

Steve's body transformation contrasts with that of many bodybuilders I've seen, who have extreme vascularity and gynecomastia, as well as flushed and mature skin.

He doesn't have these self-evident physical changes, which could indicate that he's focusing on proper dieting, training, and healthy workout supplements.

He may have visible veins, particularly in the arms, but they look like a result of consistent working out.

"Swelling in the muscles pushes the veins out to the surface. Your muscles swell when working out and push the veins closer to the surface of your skin, which makes them more pronounced."

- Spencer Nadolsky, D.O., Family Medicine Doctor, San Diego, California

Furthermore, his facial skin looks fresh and clean, with no signs of reddish skin color, which differs from the skin look of bodybuilders who tested positive for PEDs.

Finally, his weight did not increase significantly; in fact, it decreased by at least 20 pounds, which is unusual for a steroid-abusing bodybuilder.

Steve Cook’s Stats And Accomplishments

  • Height: 6 ft (183 cm)
  • Weight: 205 - 215 lbs (93 kg - 98 kg)
  • Body fat percentage: 7-8%
  • Chest: 45 inches
  • Waist: 34 inches
  • Biceps: 16.5 inches

Was Steve Cook's Transformation Possible Without Drugs?

Syringe on the table

Steve's transformation may have been possible without drugs because he exhibited no signs of drug use, like increased muscle mass and body weight, red and unclear skin, and excessive vascularity.

In my opinion, his physique could easily be achieved with healthy dieting and consistent workout.

Steve's weight is currently around 205 to 215 pounds, and considering his height and routine, he can achieve this weight by eating the right foods and exercising consistently.

In addition, his traps, lats, pecs, biceps, and triceps aren't particularly massive. His biceps measure around 16.5 inches, which I believe is realistically achievable for a bodybuilder who has a good anatomical structure to begin with, and continues to work out.

What Would It Take To Bulk Up Like Steve Cook?

bowl of salad and a man working out

From my experience, bulking up to resemble Steve's physique demands immense discipline, a balanced diet rich in all macronutrients, and a rigorous, consistent training routine. It's a challenging but rewarding journey that I've embarked on myself.

Diet and Supplements

According to his social media posts, Steve follows a consistent diet throughout the year, ensuring that his daily dietary protein intake stays between 250 to 300 grams, which he gets from eight egg whites, lean meat, and protein bars.

Also, he takes 60-80 grams of healthy fats per day by consuming two egg yolks, almonds, and olive oil.

Steve eats six to seven meals each day, including oats, sweet potatoes, vegetables, brown rice, and whole-wheat pasta, to keep his daily carb intake between 200 and 300 grams.

He makes sure to get enough natural supplements throughout the day, including CLA, creatine, BCAAs, and multivitamins. He also drinks a post-workout shake made with low lactose hydrolyzed whey protein supplements, and he concludes the day with a casein protein shake.

Tough Training

While watching Steve’s workout videos, I discovered that he enjoys varying his workout regimen from time to time. He focuses on hitting seven to ten different exercises per day in a week to work on large muscle groups.

He follows a workout schedule consisting of different exercises, including incline dumbbell presses to strengthen his chest, seated calf raises to strengthen his legs, and treadmill jogging twice a week to keep his cardiovascular health in check.

He prefers high-volume training to cut extra fats and promote mass gains, but he also does a wide variety of easy and heavy compound exercises during the off-season.

You can speed up your progress by opting for a well-rounded bulking stack based on legal and natural ingredients that could boost your energy, strength, and metabolism.

Related Article: Steve Cook Workout Routine & Diet Plan

Was Steve Cook Tested for Steroid Use?

Steve must have been tested for steroids in his early bodybuilding career while competing in NPC and IFBB competitions.

Although the NPC conducts drug testing, some online forums assert that passing the tests is simple as long as you know how and when drugs leave your system. Furthermore, neither the NPC nor the IFBB publishes any drug testing protocols online.

In one of Steve's videos, he also verified that his testosterone levels were within normal ranges as a result of laboratory testing, indicating that he was not taking exogenous testosterone at the time.


Has Steve Cook Ever Been Banned Due to Steroid Use?

Steve Cook has never been banned from competing in any of his participated events because he has never tested positive for steroids. He participated in and won several championships in his bodybuilding career, including the ABFF, NPC, and IBFF.

Does Steve Cook Have Health Issues Due to Steroids?

Steve Cook has no known health issues related to steroids. He appears very healthy in most of his videos, demonstrating his diet, workout regimen, and daily routine. Furthermore, he offers advice on leading a balanced, healthy life to avoid stress and chronic diseases.


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About The Author

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC is an ex-National Soccer player turned MMA and Kickboxing champion, with ACE CPT and PN1-NC certifications. His advice is rooted in education and experience, ensuring that readers receive scientific and battle-tested insights. His mission is to empower his clients and readers to realize their potential and become the best versions of themselves.
Learn more about our editorial policy
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Sport & Exercise Science from University of Hertfordshire. He's a Health & Performance Coach from London that brings a unique blend of academic knowledge of health supplements and practical exercise experience to the table for his readers.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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